The Stoller Hall and Chetham’s Library receive Culture Recovery Fund grants

The Stoller Hall and Chetham’s Library have been awarded £150,000 and £66,000 respectively, as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

The Stoller Hall and Chetham’s Library are among 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.

The Stoller Hall – at Chetham’s School of Music – opened in 2017 and has been hailed by critics as the UK’s finest music venue acoustically for classical chamber music.

The concert venue, which also hosts leading folk, jazz and contemporary music performers, has been closed to audiences since March. The £150,000 fund will enable the venue to plan a full Spring 2021 programme of live events, welcoming audiences back to the venue.

The Stoller Hall is launching a programme of live stream online concerts from the venue this Autumn as part of a new Broadcast series. The Culture Recovery Fund will enable the venue to programme further live stream concerts for audiences, keeping the music alive for audiences and performers while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

The funding also allows the venue to support the wider music industry by remaining open as a world-class recording and rehearsal space for artists.

Fran Healey, General Manager of The Stoller Hall, said:

“After months of uncertainty, we are overjoyed today. This funding will help protect our special venue, secure the jobs of the core team and help us to play our part in the culture sector’s long road to recovery. As a live music venue in the heart of one of the UK’s biggest cities, we’re a vital part of an ecosystem which includes musicians and concert audiences. We exist together, or not at all.

“This funding will help us to programme socially distanced events and live stream concerts to keep the music alive in the short term, prepare for our full relaunch as soon as it is safe to do so, and solidify our future as one of the greatest classical chamber music concert halls in the UK.

“Our financial struggle doesn’t end here. Until we resume full scale public events there is still a shortfall from ticket sales that we need to fill, but this funding is a major boost to our survival.”

Chetham’s Library – located on the same Chetham’s site as The Stoller Hall – is Manchester’s oldest building, dating back to 1421, and a registered museum. Next year will mark the 600th anniversary of the medieval building’s construction. It is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.

The lifeline £66,000 funding will allow the specialist team to continue to conserve Chetham’s Library’s priceless collections and medieval buildings for future generations, while planning a new public programme once tours are able to resume again.

Fergus Wilde, Chetham’s Librarian, said:

“This announcement comes as a huge relief – and also an important turning point. With no public tours or reading room access since March, this has been the longest period of public closure in Chetham’s Library’s history. But we can now begin to plan for the future. This funding will help us develop our new public programme as we plan to welcome back visitors, once it is safe to do so. We can also continue to provide vital, specialist care for our irreplaceable collection and our historic site, conserving our priceless heritage for future generations.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”


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